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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

New records surface about Orlando pedophile priest

They show that bishop put “dangerous cleric” back in churches

As recently as 2002, prelate “misled parents & endangered kids” SNAP says

Never-disclosed letters prove known serial predator was near kids “with no warning”

Support group urges “victims, witnesses & whistleblowers to come forward & get help”

WHAT
As parishioners leave church, clergy sex abuse victims will hand out fliers about an Orlando Catholic bishop who let a known predator priest work in parishes as recently as 2002. The leaflets urge parishioners to call current Orlando church officials and beg them to
--do more aggressive outreach to child sex abuse victims,
--urge anyone who saw or suspected the priest’s crimes to call police, and
--publicly chastise the now-retired bishop for his recklessness and secrecy.

The fliers also encourage church-goers to ask their loved ones if they were hurt by the serial predator or by other child molesting clerics.

WHEN
Sunday, Feb. 6, 11:15 a.m.

WHERE
Outside St. James Cathedral, 215 North Orange Avenue in Orlando

WHO
3-4 members of a support group for clergy molestation victims called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)

WHY
SNAP is releasing copies of three long-secret internal Orlando Catholic church letters (which have never been disclosed before). They involving a serial predator priest who worked for years in Orlando. He is Fr. Jose L. Mena who has been sued several times. Several lawsuits against him have been settled.

One letter shows that in 1994, after Mena was accused of molesting a child, an Orlando church official ordered him to “retire for ‘personal reasons,’ go to treatment, live in Jacksonville and do no work as a priest.” But a second letter shows that just five years later, Orlando’s Bishop Norbert Dorsey inexplicably reversed that order, and let Mena say masses in Jacksonville (while telling no one about Mena’s crimes). A third letter shows that even in 2002, after the church’s abuse scandal had erupted into a full-blown national crisis with extensive media coverage, Dorsey took no action against Mena. (That same year, however, the Jacksonville-St. Augustine bishop did finally oust Mena.)

SNAP says the letters show that - as recently as 2002 and as long ago as 1994 – Orlando’s top Catholic officials misled Florida parents and endangered Florida kids. It wants Orlando’s current bishop, John Noonan, to publicly denounce Dorsey for “his deception and recklessness.”

SNAP worries that others who may have been hurt by Mena are still “suffering in shame, silence and self-blame.” The group’s fliers urge victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to come forward and get help. SNAP also wants current Orlando church officials to use parish bulletins and websites to prod “anyone with information or suspicions about clergy sex crimes and cover ups” to speak up and call police.

Mena reported lived in Jacksonville at least until 2005 (reportedly with a priest named Fr. Antonio Leon). The correspondence was obtained in discovery during a recent pending civil lawsuit against Catholic officials. His current whereabouts are unknown. Mena was ordained in 1961 in what is now the Venice Diocese.

Mena was first named in a 2005 civil suit as having abused a fifth grader several times in 1965-66 while the child was in the fifth grade at Incarnation Catholic School (in the Sarasota area). That suit claimed that the dioceses knew of Mena's history of sexual abuse and swiftly transferred him to Orlando.

Mena’s victims are represented by attorneys Jeff Herman (305 409 7371 cell) and Adam Horowitz (305 298 7713 cell) of Miami.

CONTACT - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003, SNAPdorris@gmail.com) Barbara Blaine (312 399 4747)


Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
www.snapnetwork.org